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Delhi Daredevils clinch thrilling one-run win over Rajasthan Royals
By IPL desk
Mumbai 29 April 2012
The Delhi Daredevils truly lived up to their name, scripting an extraordinary one-run victory over the Rajasthan Royals at home. The hosts were never in the game for 38 overs. They scored a modest 152 and didn’t have the RR batsmen in any trouble for most part of the chase. But two last overs of thorough discipline and fire from Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav got them an unlikely win.
Morkel had the ball when the visitors required an easy 15 runs from 12 balls. He unleashed an array of fast yorkers to concede only three runs and pick up the all-important wicket of Brad Hodge off the last ball of the penultimate over. Yadav managed to defend the remaining 12 runs in the last over, thereby helping DD continue their dominance in the tournament.
RR’s chase of 153 began with the now-familiar elegance of the Dravid-Rahane duo. Such was the purity of the shots played that at times one forgot this was the high-octane, fast-scoring Twenty20 format. Rahul Dravid did what he is known for since the last 15 years – playing those copybook cover drives, back-foot punches, flicks and pulls.
Dravid’s innings was not short of drama. On one occasion he, very uncharacteristically gave a piece of his mind to Morne Morkel, who was on the way to his delivery stride. A few overs later, he pulled a muscle while completing a run and was down wincing in pain. Shortly after he got up and resumed the innings, there was confusion in the umpire’s mind on a caught behind appeal by Irfan Pathan; Dravid survived it. The end to his knock was no less dramatic as Ajit Agarkar plucked a stunner at long-on. Dravid departed for 40 off 38 balls.
Ajinkya Rahane brought out another gem from his bat to take the Orange Cap away from Virender Sehwag, who earned it in the first innings of the match. He once again, took a page out of his idol’s book and played some of the most beautiful shots en route to a half-century. In the process, he also became the first batsman in IPL 2012 to cross the 400-run mark.
The Royals needed early breakthroughs to prevent the Daredevils from running away with the game from the get-go. Ankeet Chavan and Pankaj Singh did just that by getting rid of Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen inside first three overs.
Rahul Dravid thrust young Chavan to open the bowling and placed himself at first slip. The left-arm spinner responded by getting an edge of Pietersen’s bat, which went straight into the safe hands of his skipper. Jayawardene fell trying to play an uppish flick off Pankaj Singh, who also ended Ross Taylor’s scratchy knock of 25 off 35 balls.
What the RR bowlers couldn’t do, though, was prevent Sehwag from becoming the first batsman to score four consecutive half-centuries in the IPL. Sehwag continued with his new strategy of combining caution with aggression that took him to the top of the run-getters list in the tournament – until Rahane’s knock later in the game. However, Sehwag’s prolific form meant he could dispatch even decent balls to the fence without any risk.
The Indian opener unleashed some delicate flicks early on, before going in full attack mode. Against the left-arm spinner Chavan, he even employed the reverse-sweep – a shot he very rarely brings out. Brad Hogg, who is one of the stingiest bowlers in the tournament so far, wasn’t spared either. He was pulled and lofted straight for a four and a six.
Besides Sehwag (63 off 39 balls), the vaunted DD batting failed to click in unison. The rest of his team added only 89 runs off 81 balls. That figure too would’ve been worse had it not been for the last over bowled by Amit Singh, in which DD scored 20 runs.
Gambhir drives Kolkata Knight Riders to big win over Royal Challengers Bangalore
By IPL desk
Mumbai 28 April 2012
Gautam Gambhir made the most of the two reprieves he got early in his innings to set up a huge victory for the Kolkata Knight Riders against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens. The KKR skipper scored a 51-ball 93 to help his side to a 47-run win. Thanks to this result, the Kolkata franchise is now just one point shy of league leaders Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 2012 table.
Opting to bat on a slow track, Gambhir got two lives in Zaheer Khan’s second over, and those two chances were enough for him to take charge of the situation. The India opener managed to score at least one boundary in every over to keep the team’s run-rate near the nine runs per over mark.
Harshal Patel failed to hold on to a difficult attempt on the third man boundary off the very first ball of Zaheer’s over, and then, Chris Gayle made the same mistake in the gully two balls later.
Gambhir’s onslaught allowed the under-pressure Brendon McCullum (43) to settle down before coming to the party once his New Zealand compatriot Daniel Vettori came on to bowl. The wicketkeeper-batsman hit Vettori for two successive boundaries in consecutive overs. But the RCB skipper, who returned to the squad after an injury scare, had the last laugh when he shattered McCullum’s stumps to end KKR’s best opening stand of the season.
The wicket did nothing to slow down Gambhir, who lofted K Appanna over the midwicket fence in the very next over. The KKR opener looked a bit hassled after getting into an argument with RCB wicketkeeper AB de Villiers. But a timeout helped him regroup and he welcomed Zaheer to the bowling crease with a boundary and a six in his second spell.
Gambhir, who hit nine fours and five sixes, employed the short arm pull at regular intervals and gathered valuable runs against the medium pacers, before Zaheer had him holed out at mid-on. He was seven runs short of a well-deserved century.
South African all rounder Jacques Kallis (41) then took the responsibility to take KKR over the 190-run mark. Two of Kallis’s sixes ended up in the stands, and had it not been for a brilliant catch by Harshal Patel, who ran back from short fine-leg, 200 looked like a distinct possibility. None of the RCB bowlers looked impressive as even Zaheer went for 12 runs-per-over.
In reply, RCB lost Tillakratne Dilshan in the very first over with just two runs on the board. The Sri Lankan opener failed to clear Rajat Bhatia at mid-off. Yusuf Pathan, who sent Dilshan back to the hut, would have had the scalp of Chris Gayle (86) in his second over. Four KKR fielders messed up a miscued hit as they converged to claim the catch, and Sunil Narine running in from long-off only managed to get a hand to it.
Gayle and Virat Kohli (18) lived dangerously for a while, until the latter fell when he missed the line of a Kallis delivery and was adjudged lbw. AB de Villiers went for an extravagant pull off the very next ball and only managed to sky it to the mid-on fielder, Laxmi Ratan Shukla. Saurabh Tiwary, who denied the South African a hat-trick, could not do much. Pathan (one for 19 in four overs) and Kallis kept the scoring rate under six till the halfway stage.
After Bhatia foxed Tiwary, it was left to Gayle stage a Houdini-style escape act. The West Indian, who is known for his explosive hitting, slammed three sixes and a boundary in the penultimate over off Bhatia. But his onslaught was too late to make an impact on the outcome of the match. Scorecard:
Man-of-the-Match: Gautam Gambhir for his match-winning innings of 93 (9x4; 5x6) off 51 balls